OCEAN 36

OCEAN 36 shares an intriguing collection of environmental topics: A nation's changeover to longer lasting currency hits a speed bump when bills are rejected by a Vegetarian cafe; A good idea for recycling used water from oil companies to farmers has unintended results; We finally have edible bags and in the UK, which we consider the Canary in the Climate Change coal mine, they once again experience flooding of historic proportions. The success of this e newsletter would not be possible without our readers, who share it with their friends. Thank you, Gordon Peabody, Editor

OCEAN 36 shares an intriguing collection of environmental topics: A nation's
changeover to longer lasting currency hits a speed bump when bills are rejected by a Vegetarian
cafe; A good idea for recycling used water from oil companies to farmers has unintended
results; We finally have edible bags and in the UK, which we consider the Canary in the
Climate Change coal mine, they once again experience flooding of historic proportions. The
success of this e newsletter would not be possible without our readers, who share it with their
friends. Thank you, Gordon Peabody, Editor

Download OCEAN 36

OCEAN 35

OCEAN 35 shares some intriguing environmental concepts: People in Maine are starting to eat invasive crabs; NYC is experimenting with old toilets to grow oysters; someone developed a thermal powered piston for controlling greenhouse ventilation and why has it taken so long to come up with edible six pack rings? You will also find breaking updates on previous articles: Bees; Hand Sanitizers and Plastic Microbeads. And we also took a closer look at the 1,000 year rainfall event in Louisiana. OCEAN is the environmental education publication of Safe Harbor Environmental Services. This newsletter is intended

for you, our readers and you have our permission to share it wherever you feel it may be useful. Gordon Peabody, Editor of OCEAN 

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EDIBLE SIX-PACK RINGS

Example of Edible Six-Pack Rings

Example of Edible Six-Pack Rings

In this day and age it seems as though there is one thing you cannot live without, and that is plastic. It has become so ingrained within consumer products that there is virtually nowhere you can go without encountering this material. Going to the grocery store means multiple single use plastic bags, going out to dinner means single use plastic straws even buying a six pack of beer could mean plastic beer rings. Unfortunately, these plastic 6 pack rings often end up in the worlds oceans, where they become death promises for sea birds. Every year 8 millions tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean; which is the equivalent of five grocery bags for every foot of coastline around the globe (Parker, 2015). Many of the animals surrounding the ocean pay the price through plastic ingestion, entanglement or even death.

Luckily new technology is emerging, which will reduce the amount of plastic found in the ocean; and in turn reduce the number animal injuries and fatalities. One such innovation has emerged from a small brewing company in Delray Florida called Saltwater Brewery. They have created biodegradable and compostable six-pack rings for beer bottles and cans. This product is made from barley and wheat ribbons, which are by-products from the brewing process making them edible for wildlife (Froelich, 2016). This new design for environmentally friendly beer rings is just as resistant and efficient as standard packaging; the only drawback is in regard to price. The company seems confident in its product stating that, “For brands to be successful today, it is no longer about being the best IN the world. But rather, being the best FOR the world and take a real stance” (Froelich, 2016). Ideas like these are especially important because they help to pave the way for a more environmentally word that is good for both people and animals.

More information in the links below:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150212- ocean-debris-plastic-garbage-patches-science, http:// www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics, https://www.craftbeer.com/brewers_banter/saltwater- brewery-creates-edible-six-pack-rings

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Lindsey Stanton

 

IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, EAT 'EM

Fishermen in Georgetown, Maine, are trying to make lemonade from lemons by creating a new fishery on the invasive species Green Crab, Carcinus maenas. Green crabs are an introduced species along the North Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada. They are native to the western coast of Europe in the Atlantic and arrived here in the ballast water of ships. They were first reported in Massachusetts in 1871 and have since spread north and south, affecting many other fisheries. The crabs themselves eat many types of young shellfish and invade coastal habitats, thus creating a need to eradicate the species.

However, there is an opportunity to eat our way out of the problem of invasive green crabs was inspired by a visit to Venice by a Maine man named Taggart. He saw the Venetians harvest Moleche, the Italian Green Crab (same genus as Green crabs, but a different species). In Italy, the crabs are cooked, battered, and served over pasta. The practice of fishing Moleche is a dying art because of the difficulty to harvest the crabs at the right moment in time. The crabs can only be harvested just before they molt. In both types of crabs, the ability to tell when they are about to shed is difficult. The body becomes slightly

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 11.40.06 AM.png

soft and a fine line begins to show on the belly of the crab. Realizing the need to pass on the skill of fishing for Moleche, a Venetian fisherman came to Maine to teach researchers how to harvest the crabs. Easily attracted to bait, Green Crabs can be caught using nets and traps. Currently, the researchers in Maine are checking the abundance, size, and gender of the crabs for data collection. Most of the molting takes place in the spring and fall. When they set their traps out, the crabs that are ready to be harvested are taken and the crabs that are close to molting are kept in floating cages until harvest (Overton, 2016).

This is also being adapted elsewhere. Legal Seafood, in Massachusetts, is trying to become more sustainable by using the invasive species in their menu. The, “executive chef Rich Vellante plans to test green crab stock in three dishes at Legal Seafood in Boston’s Seaport District” (Warner, 2015).

If we are able to harvest and consume Green Crabs, their numbers will begin to fall and other shellfish and their habitat will be able to recover from the green crab invasion. As Marissa McMahon, a marine biologist from Northeastern University said about the Green Crab harvest, “when taken together with other methods, it can help slow down the population growth of the invasive species, and maybe, over time, give us a new market for Maine fishermen to diversify the industry” (Overton, 2016). Harvesting Green Crab presents itself with a very hearty and plentiful market. If the taste of Green Crab meat becomes part of consumer demand, this could become another fishery both in Maine and the rest of the American Atlantic coast.

More information in the links below:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/02/12/the-green- crab-problem-shall-eat-enemy/ Ahtg6L87Gpxs0RMKntYAoN/story.html, http:// www.pressherald.com/2016/08/14/invasive-green-crabs-are- scuttling-from-dilemma-to-delicacy/

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Will Santora 

MICROBEAD UPDATE

Microbeads are getting more publicity about being bad for the environment. As mentioned in a previous OCEAN 25 article about microbeads, the USA has already passed a law to prohibit the use of microbeads. Other countries are continuing this trend. The UK government announced plans to ban microbeads in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2017 (BBC 2016). These products can range from toothpaste, facial scrubs and other household products.

Just like in the USA some countries are making voluntary changes to phase out the use of microbeads despite the plans by the government. In efforts to aid in the decreased usage of microbeads, some organizations and websites are educating the public about which products contain or do not contain microbeads, such as Beat the Microbead. Large companies like Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble, which own Crest toothpaste, Gillette and Olay, are committing to phasing out microbeads by next year. (BBC 2016). 

The reasoning behind this plan is for environmental purposes. It was revealed that a single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean (BBC 2016). These particles can be detrimental for ocean life, especially animals that are filter feeders like oysters. After an animal like an oyster ingests microbeads, they can transfer up the food chain. Eventually, they could end up being consumed by humans. There is little evidence about the potential human health impacts, but further research is clearly needed (BBC 2016).

Along with the UK and the USA, Canada has also planned to ban microbeads (Hong 2015). This is an important environmental issue and hopefully banning microbeads will catch on to other countries.

More information in the link below:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37263087

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Erich Dietterle 

ONLY IN NEW YORK (2016 OCEAN Environmental Innovation Award)

Oysters are far more than just tasty mollusks. Oysters play important roles in ecosystems: acting as bio-filters; buffering shores from storm surges; and providing food and habitat for other marine organisms. In order for oysters to proliferate and thrive a few environmental factors have t o be in order: water variables (temperature, salinity, a cidity), food, and substrate. As reported in OCEAN 30, s ome oyster fisheries are having issues dealing with massive d ie offs due to increased ocean acidification. The t emperature and acidity problems have been fixed by r aising fragile oyster spat in tanks before returning them to t he ocean. But in places where these aren’t issues yet, like i n New York City waters, the only thing that currently n eeds to be addressed is planting oyster beds to areas that l ack proper substrate. How did they resolve this? By r ecycling old toilet bowls. I n this case the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is fitting. The city plans to recycle pieces of porcelain from 5,000 public school toilets (free from a citywide water conservation program) to facilitate the breeding of upwards of 50,000 oysters in Jamaica Bay. Jamaica Bay is 31-square-mile part of New York Harbor south of Long Island and in proximity to the JFK airport. Historically oysters were a staple in this watershed and were so prolific that they were used as sustenance and currency (wampum) to Native Americans of the region. It has even been said that half of the world’s oysters were harvested in New York Harbor at one point. Oysters were abundant in this lower Hudson estuary until the 1927, when unfortunately overharvesting, anthropogenic pollution, and dredging caused the fishery to be functionally extinct.

The Billion Oyster Project, in conjunction with the City of New York’s Department of Environment Protection, devised the restoration plan after pilot studies demonstrated that oysters could survive and reproduce in this area again. It is the single largest installation of breeding oysters and the hope is to contribute to a productive New York Harbor. The project is a two-for-one benefit for the local environment. One it reduces waste by repurposing these broken porcelain receptacles and two the success of the oysters will improve water quality (each oyster can filter up to 40 gallons of water per day), provide habitat for other marine life, and protect the coast from storm surges by absorbing the shock from waves.

They will not be farmed for food sale and the program began depositing floating cages in September 2016. The water quality and evidence of spat will be monitored over the next two years and the hope is that New York City will have a self-sustaining oyster population once again and be a successful restoration to be replicated in other places.

More information in the links below:

http://www.billionoysterproject.org/, http://www.necn.com/news/weird/New-York-City-Oyster-Toilets-Jamaica- Bay-NYC-Porcelin-NY--392472011.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/09/07/ new-york-citys-newest-oyster-bed-is-50000-mollusks-and-5000-old-public-school-toilets/

 

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Brigid McKenna 

CARBON DIOXIDE SURPASSES MILESTONE

The Earth is constantly producing carbon dioxide through natural processes like respiration and decomposition. These natural levels are managed and balanced by the Earth. Humans contribute to CO2 levels by actions like burning fossil fuels (combining Oxygen with Carbon to produce energy). The contribution from humans is beyond what nature can handle.

September, 2016 marked a milestone in CO2 levels, 400 parts per million (Kahn 2016). Even though this is an arbitrary milestone (NOAA 2016), this still shows how much humans may be contributing to CO2 levels. September is significant when it comes to this reading because typically September is the month when CO2 levels are at their lowest in the Northern hemisphere (NOAA 2016). This is due to the growing season just ending and plants consuming the most CO2 of the year.

To put this in perspective, the last time CO2 levels were this high was in the mid-Pliocene, about three million years ago. To go along with the high level of CO2, the rate of CO2 increase is more than 100 times faster than observations in the ice core record going back 800,000 years. This will continue as long as fossil fuel consumption remains at its current high level worldwide. (NOAA 2016).

More information in the link below:

http://www.noaa.gov/stories/carbon-dioxide-levels-race-past-troubling-milestone

 http:// www.climatecentral.org/news/world-passes-400-ppm-threshold-permanently-20738

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Erich Dietterle 

UNWANTED ATTENTION

On September 3, 2016, Oklahoma (where they never had Earthquakes), experienced an Earthquake so strong it was felt from Texas to Nebraska. Quake activity has been linked to the use of “Fracking” to extract oil and gas. Fracking is the common term for the extraction of underground natural gas and oil using high-pressure water mixtures that are pumped underground. Headlines in social media posts about other effects of fracking are becoming well known and the backlash from concern citizens is growing. Due to the recent development of fracking, the short-term and particularly the long-term affects on nature and our environment are not fully understood. This practice

has increased in North America over the last 15 years due to the increase in plentiful, cheap domestic energy and despite substantial environmental concerns. OCEAN 31 touched upon some of the recent issues revolving around fracking with the article, “What’s Shaking in Oklahoma?”.

Recently, parts of Oklahoma have become tied with Northern California as the most earthquake prone areas in United States of America. A 5.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in the early morning of September 3rd in north-central Oklahoma with five aftershocks, ranging from 3.6 to 2.7 in the resulting hour. Due to the increase in such events as well as the possibly catastrophic aftereffects, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission began asking wastewater-well owners to decrease disposal since 2013 in an attempt to remedy the possibly causational effects of wastewater injections on seismic activity. The results of fracking can be seen throughout Oklahoma and Kansas and drastic action is needed to regulate fracking and decrease its effects.

More information in the links below:

http://www .necn.com/news/national-international/Earthquake-Shakes-Swath-of-Midwest-from-Missouri-to- Oklahoma-392239401.html

 https://img.rt.com/files/news/2a/29/80/00/oklahoma-earthquake-weekend-fracking.jpg

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Jessica Hillman 

OCEAN 34

OCEAN 34 celebrates 10 years of publishing OCEAN environmental e-newsletter. This is your newsletter and our success has only been possible through your support and sharing of each issue. Our main article on African Dust may seem an eccentric indulgence of research, until some surprising pieces begin falling together. Using foot power to do your laundry and generating electricity by flushing your toilet, showcase innovative energy developments. Water is a defining element in our World, especially when it vanishes and we take a closer look at two drought events: One contributed to the unprecedented CA wildfires and the other generated ecological stress in the Amazon.

Gordon Peabody, Editor of OCEAN 

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OCEAN 33

OCEAN 33 We are envious of the “live smaller, live better, take it anywhere” concept our researcher Noelle Marston uncovered and brought to our attention. Rae Taylor Burns explores solar powered road surfaces, while Brigid McKenna takes a close look at links between Atlantic Ocean temperature changes and plankton. Closer to home, Cape Cod’s Oak trees have been eaten alive by caterpillars and we investigated the details of what has been referred to as “Caterpillar Winter”. OCEAN contains no advertising or solicitation for funds and has been made Public Domain. Our readers are free to use and share this publication as they wish. Thank you,

Gordon Peabody, OCEAN Editor


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OCEAN 32

Thank you for reading, sharing and supporting our 32nd issue of OCEAN. This issue explores some remarkable, technical advances aiding the environment: a drone designed to monitor how whales breath differently when no humans are around; new wind energy innovations; and the most remarkable invention, allowing water to be transported in

undeveloped countries, by rolling it as a wheel. Thank you to OCEAN's team of environmental researchers and to you our readers, for reading, sharing and believing in new ideas with us.

Gordon Peabody, Editor

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